Freedom // thoughts on my daughter’s new-found independence

My baby has learned to crawl.

It’s funny, she has always been very strong – she was planting her feet and standing when I held her up as soon as she was born – she has wanted to take off for awhile.  Some of our friends’ babies who were born within a week of her were crawling a couple of months ago, and I was anxiously awaiting Eloise’s takeoff.  I wondered when she would finally crawl on her own, and yesterday she began.  Today, she has been doing it consistently.  In fact, right now she has embarked on our dining room for the very first time venturing outside of the living room where she’s been safely planted for the past 8 months of play time.

It comes as no surprise to me that today happened to also be one of her happiest days, as well.  She hasn’t cried hardly at all, she has been smiley, “talkative”, and bouncy.  

A friend of ours who has a daughter who, like Eloise, is very strong-willed and driven, gave me some very good advice early on: “She will be happier with each step toward independence she takes.” Already, this has proven true – from sitting, bouncing on her own in her jumperoo, and now to crawling – my baby who was so fussy and frustrated for months is blissfully happy as she rejoices in her ability to take control over this small piece of her life.

When you think about having a baby, you imagine a little creature with your husband’s eyes, your hair, his sense of humor, your strong opinions… you have this irrational idea that you have control over who they are, who they will become.  Then, you find out their gender and you gleefully celebrate this, the first piece of information about your little wonder, as you realize that you never had an ounce of control, all you can do is guide them.  

Today, I am celebrating who our Eloise is – a joyful, funny, driven, smart, strong, independent, little girl with a personality much bigger than her tiny body.  I’m celebrating with her as she is relishing her first steps away from me and into this world she will discover for herself, beginning with our dining room.

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Being a Mom Makes You Tough // more thoughts on healthcare

I’m a klutz.  Certified, tried and true — I am reliably injuring myself in some emergency room-worthy way at least once a year.  Someday, if you should hear I have tragically died, be sure to get the story because it’s bound to be something dumb like me running into a doorway or something silly like that (of course, I hope that doesn’t happen, but let’s just say if it did, I wouldn’t be surprised).

So today, in an effort to take an epic photo of the baby in a pumpkin (thank you, Pinterest, for raising the standard so high that this was my #1 priority today), I sliced my left index finger nice and deep.  [sidenote: I’m currently marveling at my ability to type with 9 fingers… outstanding!]  I realized a few things over the past few hours that seem blog-worthy:

  1. Being a mom has made me way less of a wimp than I used to be.  Having been a life-long klutz, this is not the first time I’ve sliced my finger with a knife.  Every other time something like this has happened, I have been a hysterical mess.  The reality is, it’s usually not the pain that sends me into hysterics, it’s the shock of seeing my body opened up and bleeding.  When I was 19, I got stitches for a similar cut and cried for nearly a day over the ordeal.  This time, however, I haven’t shed a tear and handled it like a pro – a big step for me.  This calm rationale has swept over me telling me, “The body heals.  You’ve been through way worse than this and have come out just fine.  It looks bad now, but this is the worst it will be.”  I guess after healing from childbirth, a cut just seems like no big deal.  Cool.
  2. I probably need stitches, but I’m not getting them.  For me to go to the ER and get stitches will mean at minimum a couple hundred bucks, and that’s with our terrible private insurance.  So, I went to the CVS on the corner and bought some butterfly closures and first aid tape, cleaned the wound and closed it up.  I chose to avoid the hospital in order to save the money.  In this case, probably not a big deal – if the wound doesn’t start looking better in a couple of days, I’ll go to the doctor… but I think decisions like this are the motivation behind healthcare reform, but on a much bigger level.  When someone like me, who could probably find the money to pay the outrageous bill for a few stitches, chooses to avoid seeking medical care because of an exorbitant expense, this is the system failing.  Why should stitches cost hundreds of dollars to get?  Why should health care ever be cost-prohibitive?  Doesn’t that seem evil and wrong?  Shouldn’t we place such a high value on human life that health care is something we just get as citizens?  If a privatized system is resulting in people choosing less-than-adequate healthcare in order to avoid financial collapse, we have a big problem.  (For more of my thoughts on this, read my post about my friend Ron).

Anyway, I hope that when the baby wakes from her nap I can ultimately get that epic pumpkin photo, but for now I feel tough and a little bit angry.

EDIT: Totally not worth it, but the photo is hilarious.

hysterical, but not worth it.
hysterical, but not worth it.

Grateful // remember these things

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New, clean, fresh cloth diapers. Definitely the best they will ever look/smell!

 

I’ve been feeling down the last few days.  Pregnancy has been getting harder on my body – I’m past the point of “cute baby bump” and into the “are you sure there’s only one in there?”-swollen feet-waddle-walk phase where everyone thinks I’ll go into labor at the drop of a pin (sidebar: why do random strangers think it’s ever okay to comment on how large a pregnant woman’s belly is!?).  Additionally, we still have not closed on our house which we were supposed to close on over a month ago.  As a ticking time bomb, so to speak, this has been very frustrating to me and my nesting urges are misplaced in this apartment which is too small, but we may still be living in primarily when Baby Girl makes her appearance.

Yesterday was especially rough – I have been pushing myself harder at work because of the impending leave to be more productive.  I’ve been working extra hours before and after trying to get ahead and be prepared for the baby whenever she shows up.  And we’ve had a lot of shows and events lately that have kept me on my feet on the weekends when I could normally be resting.  So yesterday, I had the day off and I had this mental list of things I wanted to do to prepare the apartment in case the baby arrives early, but I had absolutely no energy to do those things.

I did not communicate this well to my husband, who went to visit his family yesterday after work.  I was particularly and inappropriately cranky with him when he got home because I couldn’t do the things I wanted to and he hadn’t been home to help me.  I knew there was a lot of exhaustion and hormones behind what I was expressing, and so did he, but that doesn’t make it easier on the receiving end.

So this morning when I woke up, several of the items I had listed off to him were done.  When I went to bed at 9:45 last night, he stayed up until 1 am pre-washing cloth diapers and other baby items, doing our laundry, and cleaning up our house.  I woke up so refreshed and thankful for such a caring husband who understood my heart and was so willing to take the load off of me.  I bragged on him all day.

A friend from college had her baby shower today about 45 minutes away from where we live, so my bestie and I spent the afternoon out there and I just walked back into my house.  It was wildly therapeutic to have a little girl time away from the house with her, and in the company of a bunch of other young mommas and soon-to-be-mommas, where I didn’t feel the looming pressure of “where on earth are we going to put this kid” every time I looked around our apartment.

When I walked in the door I noticed some of the furniture boxes were missing out of the living room, so I walked up to the second bedroom which as been the hoarding/storage area for baby stuff.  My sweet, kind, wonderful man spent this day off putting together baby furniture and putting together a make-do nursery to ease my heart.  I don’t even have words for how much this means to me.  The last 24 hours needs to replay in my memory anytime I’m feeling down.  I am so hugely blessed by how well my husband loves me, what a wonderful parent he is already, and how hard he works to settle my heart.  Truly, our daughter will have a very high standard for any man who would ever entertain the thought of being her husband, because she has an incredible dad.

Hold On // what I’m learning these days

Mike and I have been trying to buy a house for some time.  What we expected to be a slow process has sped up, and slowed down with many, many bumps in the road.  While we haven’t heard anyone say “Buying a house is easy!” or “My home purchase was so smooth and simple,” somehow we had the naive thought this might be.  But, nonetheless, we’re getting close to owning our home and we are very excited to soon be in the house we will bring our daughter to when we leave the hospital, and send our kids off to college from (we hope). 

In the meantime, I keep finding myself desperately hung up on some concerns that should be minor, but feel so major at the time.  One day it was that I didn’t know how we would afford the necessary items for our baby like a crib and a car seat, another it was concerns about childcare (well, that worry lasted a little longer than a day), and yet another it was that we were being totally irresponsible by trying to do everything at once.  And the thing I keep learning throughout all of this time is to HOLD ON.  Every single one of these worries was completely washed away in a few days after praying about it and releasing control.  Every. single. one.

Funny thing is, I knew they would be, even when I was frantic.  What I’ve been learning is the patience and waiting part – that just because something hasn’t happened in this moment, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.  This is big – I’m a glutton for instant gratification.  Something tells me that God is tempering me to be a parent, a better wife, and a better employee. 

{do tell!}

Have you already been learning this lesson in your life? How?